How Democratic is the American Constitution?

How Democratic is the American Constitution?

Paperback Castle Lectures in Ethics, Politics, & Economics (Paperback)

By (author) Robert A. Dahl

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  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 196mm x 13mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 23 January 2004
  • Publication City/Country: New Haven
  • ISBN 10: 0300095244
  • ISBN 13: 9780300095241
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 2graphs
  • Sales rank: 310,831

Product description

In this volume, an eminent political scientist questions the extent to which the American Constitution furthers democratic goals. Robert Dahl reveals the Constitution's potentially antidemocratic elements and explains why they are there, compares the American constitutional system to other democratic systems, and explores how Americans might alter their political system to achieve greater equality among citizens. In a new chapter for this second edition, he shows how increasing differences in state populations revealed by the Census of 2000 have further increased the veto power over constitutional amendments held by a tiny minority of Americans. He then explores the prospects for changing some important political practices that are not prescribed by the written Constitution, though most Americans may assume them to be so.

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Author information

Robert A. Dahl is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University and past president of the American Political Science Association. He is the author of numerous books, including Who Governs?, Democracy and Its Critics, and On Democracy, all published by Yale University Press.

Review quote

"A devastating attack on the undemocratic character of the American Constitution." Gordon S. Wood, New York Review of Books "Robert A Dahl is about as covered in honors as a scholar can be... He knows what he is talking about. And he thinks that the Constitution has something the matter with it." Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker